USC hires former Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell as offensive coordinator

USC is not moving far from its Air Raid desires for its next offensive coordinator hire. The Trojans announced the hiring of North Texas offensive coordinator Graham Harrell Wednesday evening to the same position. Harrell is a replacement for Kliff Kingsbury, who never coached a game with USC and left to become the head coach of the NFL's Arizona Cardinals.

"We are very excited to welcome Graham into the Trojan Family," USC coach Clay Helton said.  "In our search for an offensive coordinator, we wanted someone who could take our offense to new heights and whose system fit our current personnel.  An individual who knows both the pass and run games and is an aggressive play caller on game day.  Also someone who is a great teacher and who can develop quarterbacks to their full potential.
"We have found all these characteristics in Graham.  In our study, I was so impressed with how he turned North Texas into one of the top offenses in the nation, combining an elite, highly-ranked passing game with a ground game that rushed for nearly 2,000 yards. He also did a terrific job developing Mason Fine into one of the best quarterbacks in the nation.  We look forward to the future of our offense under Graham's leadership."

Harrell, 33, played his college ball at Texas Tech and has quickly risen through the coaching ranks after a brief NFL career as a backup quarterback with the Green Bay Packers. In the last two years at North Texas, he and coach Seth Littrell have guided one of the most prolific offenses in the country and led the development of quarterback Mason Fine during his record-shattering career with the Mean Green. 

Kingsbury was hired to be USC's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach but left after just days on the job to become the coach of the Arizona Cardinals on Jan. 8. 

Prior to linking up with Littrell at North Texas, Harrell spent time on Mike Leach's staff at Washington State as an offensive analyst and wide receivers coach. It was there, coaching the likes of All-Pac-12 wide receiver Gabe Marks and helping put together offensive gameplans, that Harrell's successful future in the industry was predicted. 

"Graham was very much a master of the film and could draw a lot out of it," Leach told 247Sports for a 2017 profile. "He had a really stabilizing influence I thought would be very good for our quarterbacks, which it was. He just has a really good, sharp mind. I knew he'd be in coaching."

At USC, Harrell will have the opportunity to coach one of the top quarterback talents in the country with J.T. Daniels under center. After and up-and-down freshman campaign, USC is hoping that a transition to the Air Raid and the leadership of Harrell will bring the best out of a player and an offense that seeks to reach its championship potential. 

CBS Sports Writer

Chip Patterson has spent his young career covering college sports from the Old North State. He's been writing and talking about football and basketball for CBS Sports since 2010. You may have heard him... Full Bio

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